Carpool Q&A [E17] Does Connected Parenting Work with Multiple Kids?

March 15, 2024 00:19:51
Carpool Q&A [E17] Does Connected Parenting Work with Multiple Kids?
Empowered to Connect Podcast
Carpool Q&A [E17] Does Connected Parenting Work with Multiple Kids?

Mar 15 2024 | 00:19:51

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Show Notes

Today on Carpool Q&A we tackle a question that at least two of our hosts know all too well - "How do I do connected parenting when there's multiple kids?" It's a great question - we advocate for lots of time spent with your kids when you're attempting to parent in this way and sometimes it may feel like practically there are just too few parents and too many kids to actually do this thing. If this is you - rest easy - we got you! Today JD (who has 4 kids), Tona (who has 6 kids) and Becca (who is used to managing classrooms and behavior offices of 20-30 kids) talk us through how to stay connected, build connection and maximize every moment on Carpool Q&A!

You can find every episode of Carpool Q&A on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you get your favorite podcasts!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:12] Speaker A: Welcome to Carpool Q A, where we give you one conversation, one topic to get you from point A to point B. I'm JD Wilson, and I'm your host. And I'm joined by Tana Onger and Becky McKay, as always. And so each week, one of us brings a question for the others to consider and talk through. And we've been crisis heavy lately. So, Becca, not going to tell you what to do, but please don't bring some crisis question in. [00:00:40] Speaker B: Question. No, I'm just kidding. My question is, okay, guys, you're talking about all these principles. I've been listening to the podcast for a while. I don't just have one kid. How does this work when I have five kids, eight kids, four kids, how does this work when I'm a teacher with 30 kids? These principles sound awesome, and it sounds like one on one time with an adult is the answer to every problem. But there's one of me. What do I do? [00:01:09] Speaker A: Well, you've come to the right place. There are ten children between Tana and I, and we're at least trying to do things this way. And you've been in this school context with at least three times that under your watch at one point. Yeah, I think, yes. Look, you listen to this, and when you're being introduced to all of this content and the concepts and the ideas, you're like, yeah, cool. If I was a stay at home parent who had an endless bankroll and time and a kid proof house that could be destroyed at any point and everything could be replaced with no issue, sure, I'm all over this. This will be my job. And in reality, I would just say, number one, it's worth it to take a step back and consider not the time constrictions, but the long term benefits and risk analysis of, if I see some scientific based, brain based, connection based material, where we see, hey, there's better outcomes for our kids, holistic well being long term, when you parent this way, and there is, yes, a larger time commitment. But I do see other families who have lots of kids who are doing this, maybe I should consider how to do that would be my challenge, is, yeah, okay. I mean, yes, it does look that way from the outside and sound that way from the outside. We give our kids what we need. Right? And I'm including you asking that question in this listener. We all give our kids what we need. So I think it's just, can we change definitions to look at what those needs are and then recognize that no child has that long of an attention span as to what you're thinking of. [00:03:12] Speaker B: I love that. Why? I want to know, how do you juggle? I love that. Why? I think everybody needs to be reminded of that. Why? And now if I am bought into this idea, but I just don't know how to. Literally two kids are yelling at once. There's one of me. How do you. [00:03:32] Speaker A: And while those two are yelling, there's two more downstairs. They're doing something different. [00:03:36] Speaker B: That's right. No, but that why really helps people kind of get on board with even. Why would you even ask this question? Because that long term benefits are there. And then in the moment, how do you. I don't know. The right juggle dance. How do you do it? [00:03:53] Speaker A: Alter my mind? No. [00:03:54] Speaker C: Gosh, no. This is amazing. JD, a word came when you were talking. It's investment. You're, like, deciding where to put your investment. [00:04:00] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:04:00] Speaker C: Okay. So what's on my mind, and this still might not scratch the itch, so I'm going to say it, and then you can keep pushing me and be like, but why? Or how? Okay, so this may come off a little snarky, but here it is. Ready? You have a relationship with your children already. You do. This whole thing is about relationship. So it is about how you show up in relationship. So if you have six children, you have six relationships. If you have one child, you have one relationship. So how do you do this thing called connected parenting or trust based relational intervention? If you're thinking about this through the lens of TBRI, it's how you show up in relationship with each one of them whenever it needs to happen. So it is about how we care a lot here at empowered to connect, about giving you guys some good ideas because there's good concepts, and then we may not actually do them if we don't know how. So I think about, just with your example about you have two kids crying or squabbling or fighting at the same time. How do I. And there's probably some preconceived ideas of what you think you should do in the moment. I do think there's some things we could do that would help, and there's some things that we could do that wouldn't help. But if I'm thinking about the way I build trust and relationship with my children is how I treat them right now, because it's about my relationship with them. And I personally happen to have six of those relationships, and they're all very unique and different and what each one of those children. So I'm just making it more complex they need unique things. But I know my kids. I know them. And so if there are two children squabbling, I cannot give you the exact answer of what to do in that moment because it depends on which two of the six children are squabbling and. [00:05:52] Speaker A: Over what and over what and then. [00:05:55] Speaker C: Where and how and how we got here. But what I can say is I don't want them to keep squabbling. So I know them. I have them in my mind. I have a way I want to treat them in my mind. I have some goals, and I know we need to stop squabbling. What I do in the next 30 seconds depends on who it is and why they're squabbling. [00:06:14] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:06:15] Speaker C: So I have to ask some questions right there. And my tone of voice is going to be different depending on which child it is. How we stop squabbling is going to be different depending on how much I know they can handle. How resilient are they? How much can I push them? How much can I just say, hey, guys, that's enough. We need to stop. Who is it? Do they have the ability to stop? It depends on who's squabbling. One of them might need me to be like, hey, love, we're going to head over in here because they need to go co regulate with me. And if I remove them, the other one's like, well, I'm not mean. There's so many things that it's about. [00:06:50] Speaker A: Yeah. And I think from a practical standpoint. Yeah, you know, your kids. Now, this question also assumes that you're not currently using any time to parent. [00:07:03] Speaker C: That's what I'm saying, JD. [00:07:05] Speaker A: I think that if you have multiple kids, this issue already exists, no matter what method of parenting, as long as that method of parenting involves you trying. [00:07:15] Speaker C: You'Re like, in the same room with them. You're parenting six of them. [00:07:18] Speaker A: Yeah. So if you have multiple kids and you're looking at this like, I don't even know how. I mean, you could stop the sentence right there, but I don't even know how to parent these kids. It does feel time wise, like, everyone needs more me, time, emotions, money, you name it, than what I have available in this moment. And so you're always in that moment doing a little bit of rationing time wise, but it is. If you take a relationship based approach, I might even argue that does make those approaches, I would say, more efficient with the asterisk of getting to an actual resolution. [00:07:59] Speaker C: That's what I think I'm trying to get at right there, because if you. [00:08:02] Speaker A: Know, and we're the same way, there is not a situation in our house that could happen where both kids need the same parent in an immediate, intense same way simultaneously. They each need different stuff, different time. I'm thinking of our most frequent fighters when they're in the 6th round of their boxing match or whatever, and you're stepping in one of them. If I try to go co regulate with them, then all of a sudden the fight turns to me and now we're in it because I won't leave that person alone or whatever. If I take the give space approach with the other one, it's like we don't even care because I know that I'm going to, in the moment, say, child a, hey, you take a second, go listen to some music and calm down for a few minutes. I know you need some space. Punch your bed, pillows, whatever, like scream out the window if you need to, whatever. And then child B, come with me. We're going to go walk and talk for a second. We're going to go sit for a few minutes. I'm trying to figure out nutrition for both kids. And then once that kind of triage is done, it's usually like, all right, is there a different pencil you can use? Can we figure that out? And let's just. Your side of the room. Got you. Okay. Hey, I tell you what. Let's reestablish whose side of the room is what. And let's also remember that sometimes the reverse happens. So it generally is not a deep seated major issue that happens. So typically, just getting to regulation makes the solving of the problem a little bit faster. And I'm saying typically and trying to give plenty of caveats because obviously these situations are all nuanced and different. And then, yeah, I think my biggest point would just be, if you're parenting multiple kids, you don't have the time anyways. So you might as well take the smartest, most relationship preserving, and hopefully best preparing of a child for real world relationship and life approach that you can, because you're going to be exhausted no matter how you go. [00:10:15] Speaker C: I mean, we don't ever feel like there's enough of us. So when I give, this is what I was trying to get to of. Like, if I have to give myself out to my children, then I want those interactions to have the biggest bang for their buck. And I want the investment, which you go back to, that investment, parenting, those investments in relationship preservation or reconciliation or regulation or solving problems or negotiating needs or using voice or asking permission or showing respect. I want all those things to be practiced in the most intense, intentional way as we're mentoring or parenting that many kids at one time. What I loved is you saw your kids and your example and one you allowed to go meet their needs. You didn't send them away, but it was like, you can go into your room and get it out physically if you need to. While I'm tending to the emotions of this one, I'm guessing you would also then go check back on the one that was so it's some triage, but we just know which kid can handle a little bit on their own for a minute while you're triaging the one that's the loudest, just don't forget to take care of the one that can handle it on their own because they need you too. And this has been a big thing for me and something I really struggled with a lot when our older kids were little. And man, oh man, we were homeschooling. I mean, it was a lot. There were four kids within four years. There was a whole lot of need. Just felt like every day there was more need than I could have ever met in my whole life. And I really did think a lot. I think it maybe is why I'm so passionate about balancing nurture and structure and do your best, and kids are doing their best, and good enough is good enough because you are never going to feel like you did enough. You're never going to feel like you did it right. It's just a messy middle. But if I'm pursuing relationship, there gives me a lot of room to flex how it looks. And I'm just touching base with each kid and making sure that they are okay and that they have what they need to do. The next thing, whether that's get back to schoolwork or eat dinner or repair or be okay with me or. It's a tricky thing when there's multiples, but it is about me. I show up a certain way when I have this intention. [00:12:46] Speaker B: You said all the things. And so what you're both saying is, first you have to know your kids, which takes some work before this moment that we're having in our minds. Then you both said versions of triage. So you are one person and you do have to make a lot of decisions. I think this is why parenthood is exhausting for people, is because you are 100% of the day making big and little decisions. You're deciding every moment. Which color cup do I give this kid? And am I going to guess the right cup for the toddler. Today you're making decisions. [00:13:22] Speaker C: I love how you said, guess the right cup, because you know that color has changed since yesterday morning without any explanation. [00:13:30] Speaker B: You're knowing what you know about the kids, and there's stuff that you can't control, but you're making constant decisions. And then one of you, I think it was JD, said, then you have to ration yourself. And so that is mean. I wasn't asking the question to be sneaky. I just think that people. I think when people listen to empowered to connect or things like this, they get this mindset of, okay, so I'm supposed to know all the needs and meet all the needs, except I can't. [00:13:57] Speaker C: That's right. [00:13:58] Speaker B: So I think I just wanted to bring the conversation up and just kind of show how you do what you all just described. You just described it. You just make decisions about how much can you meet this need. And sometimes you're having to make a decision about which kids needs get met first. And sometimes that is not always going to be fair. It's not always going to feel great to you. But you're one person, you're doing the best that you can. You are offering what you can offer, and there's going to be days where you have more to offer and less to offer, and that's okay, too. So I didn't have like a hidden agenda, but I just know you all do this every day. And it's one of those things where I see you do it like, in the hallways and in the car, getting kids in the. Out of the car and things like that. And I think that you do it seamlessly. It's like a muscle memory for both of you all, specifically. And I think people that are parenting multiples and they maybe don't have friends in the same boat, or they might feel kind of alone and they might feel like, well, I must be doing this wrong, because I'm not spending 3 hours of one on one time with each one of my six kids, and so therefore I suck at this. I just want to paint a picture of what it really is. [00:15:05] Speaker C: Okay, so I'm going to give you another real life example, because I think this is where I was like, I don't know what to say about this, except it's about your relationship with them individually. So I'm thinking about a time. It happens a lot. Like, there's times in the day when a large family's house is, I call it a little hot, or maybe there's not as much room in the air for some people to breathe, because there's just a lot going on in any sort of give transition moment. And there's one of our older kids, and anytime they come in down to the kitchen and there's a lot going on, we just make eye contact. And I wink at him every single time. He's 20 years old, he knows, he walks in the kitchen. I could be cooking dinner and help him with homework. There could be somebody crying, the dog could be throwing up. All of those things could be happening simultaneously. We make eye contact, I wink. That's it. He doesn't have a big need. There's nothing going on. But it does not matter what else is going on. He's the kid I'm trying not to lose in the middle of the chaos. And that's just something between the two. I think I shared this on a podcast sometime like a couple years ago, and we got off and Mo was like, I did not know you even did that with him. And I'm like, I know Mo doesn't have any idea that that's something that this kid and I do, and that is just something so personal between us. So what is it? That is the thing, and it may not be the big squeakiest thing. It could be the tender routine, the rhythm, the ritual that you do go back into their room after all the other stuff's happened, and you all have something that's precious. So make sure that there is a precious presence of relationship between you and each individual child. And if there's something you can find or grab onto or hold onto, you're doing a really good job. You're doing it. It's just going to look really different. [00:17:02] Speaker A: And I think in light of that, you just have to remember that it is quality over quantity in these interactions. Always there's a fascinating report. We don't have time to go anywhere near it, but by Ted Guilla. And I'm probably saying it wrong. [00:17:20] Speaker C: Okay, JD's coming up with the report. Give it to me. [00:17:23] Speaker A: It's called the state of the culture report. And he basically just displays that all of our culture, it used to be kind of historically in humanity, centered on kind of art and entertainment as components of culture, and that over time, entertainment, the big criticism as the theater and as then radio and TV and all this developed, the big criticism was the big entertainment fish was eating the little art fish. And none of this crap is actually art anymore. It's just entertainment. Just entertainment. Entertainment. And he published of the culture report this year, and the visual is this year. The big thing in our culture right now, the art fish is real little. It's getting eaten by the entertainment fish, which is little. The distraction fish is like the size of a whale eating the entertainment and art fish. And then he goes in to say, what really is happening is the addiction fish, which is the size of. I don't know. I killed myself. I said whale. [00:18:31] Speaker C: The whole ocean. [00:18:32] Speaker A: The whole ocean is eating the distraction, entertainment and art fishes. So I say all that to say it's worth every second of reading the state of the culture report if you go find it on the Internet. But he details out how our entire life is spent mindlessly scrolling. Now for these little two second burst of dopamine shots to our brain from TikTok, from Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, whatever. Don't allow that to take up all of your time and miss the winks and the eye contact for a minute and the five minute walk without somebody having headphones in or whatever. And for yourself, too. [00:19:14] Speaker C: I love it. [00:19:14] Speaker A: Quality over quantity. [00:19:16] Speaker C: I love it. [00:19:16] Speaker A: That's all she wrote for us. Okay, so that's it. It didn't run super long, but we went a little long. [00:19:23] Speaker C: Relationships are worth a few extra minutes of carpool. Q A. [00:19:28] Speaker A: What if I don't have that time available? Okay. [00:19:30] Speaker C: Just kidding. [00:19:31] Speaker A: All right, so for everybody, for Becca, for Tana, for everybody to see, and myself, JD Wilson, we will see you next week on Carpool. [00:19:38] Speaker B: Q A.

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